Hot Rod Forum : Hotrodders Bulletin Board

Hot Rod Forum : Hotrodders Bulletin Board (
-   Suspension - Brakes - Steering (
-   -   rambler with nova subframe (

396Wheelstand 11-14-2009 07:45 PM

rambler with nova subframe
Hi new to the forum find the threads useful. I am building a Rambler American 1959 and am considering an old school style no F.I. or comps to be used. Engine comp looks tight suspension looks like a motorcycle, how about a nova sub or complete frame swap anyone done this? Additionally I have a 62 Impala with 454 cruiser, and a 63 880 Dodge that I sectioned into a shorty coupe 413 engine.

wretched ratchet 11-14-2009 07:48 PM

Welcome, you might want to post this question in the "Suspension Thread" also :welcome:

eloc431962 11-14-2009 08:00 PM

Welcome to the site. :welcome: ..........Cole

poncho62 11-14-2009 08:30 PM

moving it.....

MARTINSR 11-14-2009 08:58 PM

The Nova subframe is WAY, WAY too wide, WAY too heavy, WAY to clumbsy for the little American. The Nova is about six or eight inches too wide! Make a sub frame from tubing and use Mustang II components.


farna 11-25-2009 08:53 AM

The Rambler is too narrow for most Mustang II setups too. You'd have to do a lot of work to the "frame" and modify a crossmember. The old Rambler suspension looks frail but isn't -- the old L-head six (or OHV) weighed about the same as a stock SBC -- maybe 40-50 lbs lighter, but that's it, and I wouldn't bet on that much! It looks a bit weird to someone used to ball joints, but is mechanically sound and simple. The lower joints are still available and inexpensive, the upper can be repaired. Most of the time it just needs disassembling. cleaning, and inspecting. Then just grease and put it back together. The most common failure is the owner's fault -- it needs to be greased regularly! Most of the time these were cheap used cars that received little or no maintenance, under which conditions anything will eventually fail or wear out -- nothing wrong with the design.

The springs are easy enough to get out, but take a lot of care. They have built in "spring compressors" -- the seats have "ears" made on them for hooks to keep them compressed, then the seats and spring come out as an assembly. Just be careful and don't drop the mess or the spring could pop out. Once the spring is out you take the four bolts holding the inner arm shafts on and pull the whole front suspension as a unit. What could be easier?

The inner wheel panels have a big hump that's really there for nothing. It's a left-over from the original 1950 Nash Rambler design. The 58-60 Rambler American is a mildly modified version of the 50-55 Nash Rambler. Nash originally had a funky upper shock mount that used a brace rod above it that was in that inner fender hump. They changed the design around 52-53 but never changed the inner fender panel stamping, which was used all the way through 1963 in the American. The 61-63 American is mechanically the same car as the 58-60, but it received a complete reskinning of the old unit body. The side glass is the same from 50-63, as is the floor pan structure. The only major changes to the 58-60 bare unit body for 61-63 were the trunk area and the firewall -- everyting else is the same. The 61-63 looks vastly different with its squared off body panels, but under the skin is almost identical to the 58-60. The most extensive and successful facelift ever!

MARTINSR 11-26-2009 03:18 PM

You are the man! I am so thankful for your contributions to the Rambler threads. I have to tell you, I have had a number of cars over the years that I learned a lot about. But this Rambler has me stumped! First off, very few out there, second very few people know anything about them!

I searched around for a forum where I thought I would find a bunch of people working these these cars, I found very little. The ones that are supposed to be the cats meow only have a few people who know these older Americans.

I am having fun learning about them, it is like I am a kid again. But I have to say, it isn't easy!

Thanks so much for your insite. I hope to get out there and fire up my parts car motor this weekend. If I can get it running good it is only a short while before it is in my two door and driving it every day. I can't wait to leave this late model car at the curb!


ramzoom 11-26-2009 09:15 PM

We could start a club....all 4 of us :D


MARTINSR 11-26-2009 09:57 PM

You too Ramzoom! THANKS! If not for you guys and a couple guys on an AMC forum I would know nothing about this car.

Being I am not hot rodding mine, am I still allowed in the club? :thumbup:


ramzoom 11-27-2009 10:31 PM

Your membership card is on the will also get you a 10% discount at IHOP and free entry into any bingo game in your area........ :spank:

Heres your official membership hat.....

Welcome to the club!!! :welcome: lol.....

MARTINSR 11-27-2009 10:47 PM


Originally Posted by ramzoom
Your membership card is on the will also get you a 10% discount at IHOP and free entry into any bingo game in your area........ :spank:

Heres your official membership hat.....

Welcome to the club!!! :welcome: lol.....

How abotu bowling, it's got to include bowling!


farna 12-05-2009 06:40 AM

Martinsr, I've been into Ramblers since my first in 1979. I haven't done as many mods as I talk about, but have been over the bodies enough to know them real well and figure out what can be done and what's just too much trouble/not feasible. I've taken quite a few apart... and put a few less back together!

396, a fellow in Florida built a wheel-standing 62 American (same chassis was used 58-63 on the Americans -- just outer sheetmetal and firewall are different) using the stock suspension. He added some bracing under the hood and cut holes between firewall and front suspension mounts for Chevy II "over the rail" headers. He also had a full roll cage, but that would only be needed if you plan on wheel-standing too. The car was back halved for really big meats. He never had a problem with the front end.

Alternately, you can cut the car off at the firewall and use a Chevy II bolt-on frame clip with Mustang II style front suspension and have all the room you'll ever need. Heck, weld the front clip into one piece and lift on/off or reinforce and tilt it!

Found some pics of the wheel-stander:

MARTINSR 12-05-2009 09:46 AM

Good stuff Farna, keep talking. :) I am reading your posts like a FAQ book on Ramblers, VERY educational.:D


396Wheelstand 12-05-2009 11:07 AM

I thought of removing everything from the firewall forward and making my own inner fenderwells, then I could use a front clip from a later Nova/camaro and build around it I would graft the front subframe into the rockers and maybe add a rear stub to connect the rear suspension to. I was able to get a close up view of Gary Meadors Nash at a goodguys meet a few years back and the whole frame from an s10 that he did was nice however it requires cutting the floor for clearance in both the front foot area and the rear kickup. The wheelbase of the short wheelbase S10 is within 1/2 inch of the Ramblers which is what originally attracted me to this, however considering the adapting of the steering and gas tank etc. I think I would be better off either building my own frame or putting a sub under it. I was just wanting to know if anyone had done this before. I initially will use a small block around 300 horses and then later put a big block in it, I am not afraid of cutting and fabricating as I have the shop and have done a lot of this type of work in the past. I think the biggest problem I am going to run into is going to be the steering and pedals in any type of swap. I had considered using a nailhead or SBF because of their smaller footprint into the engine compartment, but nailhead prices have gone crazy and I dont have anything for the SBF motors so Iwould have to spend time and $'s to get that accomplished too which brings me back to square #1. Thanks for the replys

stimpy 12-05-2009 08:33 PM

couldn't you take a f body sub frame and remove some out of the center to make it fit ??( you would have to rework the steering with a rack or cut the centerlink ), but we often cut the crossmember out and replace it with tubing and plate to make hi cap pans fit .and they hold up to pounding when we wheelstand the cars.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:13 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0 PL2
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Copyright 1999 - 2012. All Rights Reserved.